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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,594 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,594
Reviews: 1,107
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 113
Gots: 261 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,594 | Reviews: 1,107
Photo of noslenwerd
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Color/clarity is almost exactly the same as if you were to look through an empty brown beer bottle, with a light reddish tint to it. Little to no lacing.

S: Buttered toast, Caramel, alcohol smell... very inviting.

T: Sweet at first, mild hoppy when it hits your throat, roasted flavor the whole way through, and sweet aftertaste. Very complex taste. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, would be better if it had a little more carbonation. Tastes similar to a belgian dark

Summary: Overall I think the hype behind this beer psyched me out a little bit.. If I would have tried this without any premonitions I probably would have been more impressed. Overall still a very good beer and would drink again, but I prefer a few other winter warmers over this one.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Great Minds Drink Alike": the print on the cap - I just love it!!!

A: The pour is burgundy with a rich thick longlasting off-white head that leaves great rich lacings.

S: Chocolate (malt) at first but after that the smells evolves: rich and very complex. Brown sugar and dark dried frutis (mostly dried figs). Nice floral hops.

T: Light roasted but very powerful chocolate malt, there are some caramell malt in this rich and complex brew as well. Obviuos floral hops; nice mix of english (most) american hops (fainter). Dark dried fruit. But the taste is so complex that I sence different flavours for each mouthful.

M: The aftertaste is really long, mostly sweet but with a sturdy bitterness in the back - in great balance. The body is full and the carbonation is light.

D: Truly a great beer. This style is the only one that comes close to the best trappist-beers (quads). The Hibernation Ale has a great taste with a very interesting mix between english and american floral hops.

Photo of bamadog
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pretty excited to come across this one as I've read about it a little bit and I've been pretty well fulfilled by Great Divide thus far, and not to mention I'm always on the lookout for Old Ales as they seem kind of hard to come by. Pour is from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a deep ruby color and starts with a one finger off-white head that fades to a creamy and bubbly skim; body is just a touch hazy and the pour looks viscous; very light carbonation is present; spotty lacing is left along the sides of the glass.

Smell: Whiffs of alcohol mixed with a warm spiciness and big rich caramel malts; smell is a bit brandy like at first but that starts to diminish as I drink it a bit and there is a definite presence of a grassy hoppiness that starts to sneak into the nose.

Taste: Surprisingly hoppy (grassy and straw-like) and it's the dominant flavor; definite presence of alcohol that lingers throughout the drink; nice subdued caramal malts combine with a very earthy straw-like flavor in the aftertaste. I like it. It's definitely different from the other few old ales that I've had, but it's still really good.

Mouthfeel: Body is pretty thick and a little slick and oily; carbonation is a bit more present than I thought it would be; belly is left quite warm.

Drinkability: Not too bad for something with the ABV that this one comes with. The hoppy grassiness is quite interesting; the alcohol, while present, is still blended quite nicely. I would have to wonder if some age would do this one any good.

Photo of bump8628
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with bottled on date of Oct. 22, 2009.

Ruby red in color with a pinky of loose, tan head that recedes to a ring around my snifter.

Earthy, spicy, and piney hops jump out on the nose along with some spicy and warming alcohol.

This is one complex beer with spicy, leafy, and piney hops hitting the palate first, followed by softer malt with a strong toffee/molasses character and notes of nutty chocolate and roasted coffee. Pleasantly smooth and fruity alcohol flexes just enough to let you know it's there.

The carbonation is moderate to low lending a smooth, sipping character perfect for this strong ale.

Despite the higher alcohol and sipping-nature of this, I could spend a whole evening drinking this by a warm fire.

Photo of bsp77
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Relatively dark reddish-brown that glows ruby red in the light. Minimal head but leaves light lacing lines.

Smell: Brown sugar, toffee, cherry, dark fruit, English hop spiciness and alcohol. The English hops become more apparent as it sits in the glass.

Taste: Complex malt profile that seems both sweet and dry at the same time. Hard for me to separate the individual flavors, but cherry and caramelized sugars appear to be in the mix, with notes of bitter chocolate, peat and a stale mustiness. The English hop spiciness/bitterness is apparent throughout, especially at the finish. However, it does grow more malty and deep as it warms.

Feel: Low carbonation, full body, with a mostly dry (and warming) finish.

Drinkability: Very nice example of an Old Ale which begs to be sipped. However, I feel like I enjoyed it a little more last year when it was a little lower in alcohol and the malts seemed to be richer in comparison to the spicy hops. Not sure if the beer or my palate is different. Either way, still a great beer.

Photo of sevopie
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A couple of up front notes here. This year's vintage is labeled as 8.7%, as opposed to the 8.1% of last years. Also, I'm reviewing a new and cellared version side by side (bottled on Sep 22 2009, and Nov 12 2008.) **Score will be given on the cellared version.**

Both pour a color that is best described as a chocolate ruby, with a tan/light brown head. The older one has a bit less head, and ends up lacing drastically less than the fresh one.

A lot of smokiness and cocoa on the nose on the fresh one, whereas the aged one has a lot of dark fruit and cinnamon on the nose. Very interesting and dramatic difference.

The alcohol really is prominent on the fresh one, and there's almost a cacophony of spices on the tongue, very jumbled. There's a touch of bread and chocolate, and a strange bitter lingering aftertaste.
The aged one is markedly smoother and teeming with bread and cocoa flavors, with noticeable cinnamon, nutmeg, raisin, and a dash of brown sugar.

The mouthfeel is very similar on these 2, with a full creamy body and a healthy carbonation. Its probably slightly lighter on the carbonation with the aged one, but its not detrimental at all.

I was not a big fan of Hibernation last year when I first tried it, but this has thoroughly changed my mind. I lost a bet last year (football related) and "donated" 2 6-packs to a friend who ended up cellaring them. He let me try a few bottles this year, and I was absolutely blown away. His patience has paid off immensely, and I will absolutely now start cellaring some beers. The aged version of last year's Hibernation may be one of the best beers I have ever tried. As far as this year's goes... its not the worst winter beer I have ever had, but its incredibly hot for the 8.7% it lists, and probably could also use a year in the basement.

Photo of wanglaoshi
3.23/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a bottle (bottled on date 10/22/09) poured into a pint glass, another poured into a Chimay goblet.

A-Dark copper color with just a little bit less than a finger length head.

S-Not really very strong, but you can smell a bit of malts and hops.

T-Very malty taste with a strong chocolate and caramel presence.

M-Smooth, but a bit thin.

D-I think it's very drinkable.

Had just two last night and spent all Sat morn with a frontal (sinus?) headache that would not go away (despite 2 Exedrin and 2 ibuprofen). Had just two tonight as well, I fear the same may happen tomorrow morn judging by the way I feel now. Will update.

Photo of scanlonbrad
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/17/2008

Smells of rich malty goodness with a slight hop edge. Carbonation is light but still lingers as it is over a year old. Minimal lacing in my goblet as it goes down. Alcohol seems hidden very well. Tastes up front of rich toffee and small coffee flavors with a carmel bite. Hops resonate in mouth as it goes down. Very drinkable for an 8.1%. One of my favorites of all time. This is a classic brew. I cant wait to find a fresh one and compare.

Photo of Docer
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Oct. 22, 2009... nice fresh grab from The Beer Mongers in SE PDX.. 12 oz.

- Fluffy foamy latte head.. off-white, and a thin everlasting layer... sits over a rich dark copper and somewhat clear brew... not cloudy, but so dark you almost can't see through it.

- Huge grainy malt profile... bit of caramel.. some bread, biscuit, and dirty earthiness... with a oatmeal-like presence.. and bright bitter hop nose.

- Nice rich creamy caramel malt... pecan pie in liquid form.. bright zesty pine hop.. smooth... and again.... rich and smooth.

- Slight chewiness... little sticky.. dries a tad.... robust with a tart aftertaste that doesn't show up until many seconds later.

- Overall this is a fantastic sweet, rich, and malty brew... and like it states... is very well balanced and complex.

Photo of peabody
3.49/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a beautiful reddish amber with two fingers of off-white creamy suds. Very good lacing.
Smell is malt and caramel and alcohol with a hint of raisin.
Taste is malty and very smoothe and the alcohol kick comes in nicely on this one. Very balanced on the palate.
Mouthfeel is very clean with just a slight bitterness at the end.
Drinkability is only OK because I wouldn't want to polish off a 6 pack of these bad boys. Might not get up in the morning.

Photo of angelmonster
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a 2 finger tan head, body is dark brown. Head retention and lacing are barely above average

Smell is very big on malt. Similar to a scotch ale, with lots of oak and smokiness. No real presence of hops.

Taste is similar to the smell but better. The smoke comes out more and there is a bit of vanilla which could pass as the oak aged version. There is an aftertaste of warming alcohol that isnt too overpowering but is nice for this style. Hops come in and out and balance nicely with the sweetness of the malt

Mouth feel is good. Carbonation is a bit on the aggressive side but body has some substance to balance things.

Drink ability is pretty good. For such a high abv beer its somewhat session able. Great beer for cold nights, definitely a malt bomb, sweet, smoky, and just enough bitterness. Another very good beer from Great Divide.

Photo of MCDuhamel
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a huge whipped cream head that stays with the beer all the down. Completely clear, light ruby liquor showing very light carbonation, as one would expect for the style. Heavy lacing down the glass.

S: Earth, malt and honey hit the nose, with really no hops presence.

T: A strong caramel and toffee flavor predominates at first, with a gentle hop bitterness appearing halfway through and leading to a nice, lingering finish. The flavor is definitely malt-forward, but balanced. No alcoholic heat appears, despite the substantial strength.

M: The beer has a moderately heavy mouthfeel, somewhat coating but not viscous.

D: I drank 4 in one sitting. Despite the beer's strength, it is easily drinkable.

Overall: One of the best examples of the style I have come across. British examples available in the US often have not fared so well by the time they get to the consumer. This beer is outstanding.

Photo of BeerMark
2.61/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Hibernation Ale pours a lovely burnt copper in my glass. Aroma is of malts and a little fruit twang. The malts are tasty on the tongue. After the malts go away you are left with a fruit bitterness and a little alcohol burn. It's a pretty beer with not much else going for it. I could not recommend this beer unless you happen to be a fan of the style.(I must not be)

Photo of Plonk
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle 2009 vintage poured in a snifter

A - vigorous pour produces light tan 3 finger head that falls to a collar with a broken sheen across top. Color a med. Mahogany, slight chill haze that clears as beer warms.

S - resiny hops, caramel candy, vanilla, booze and hint of cocoa

T - Sweet malt, caramel, chocolate, earthy hop bitterness, booziness, and sherry

M - Malt dextins give a nice silkiness bitter hops provide some grip, throw in some carbonation prickliness and a bit of alcohol heat

D - Despite the +8% ABV, good balance makes this beer easy to drink.

Photo of drumrboy22
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle poured into a Great Divide chalice. Beer was a dark ruby red color, with a one-finger, sandy head. Moderate lacing and slow, soft carbonation.

Aroma was caramel, malt, rum balls and alcohol.

Taste was sweet malt, dark ripe fruits, toffee, nuts and light chocolate.

Delicious beer. Moderately complex, but smooth on the palate. Should age very well. I have bottles in the cellar from the past few years. Curious to see how these change over time.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter,nice ruby -brown color. decent lacing and head retention.fairly charming.

nose has dark fruit,coffee,bit of caramel/english toffee,chocolate.slight bit of alcohol in the nose as well.

taste has some big caramel malt sweetness upfront,bit of chocolate,finishes with coffee notes and a firm acrid coffee like bitterness,but leaves a bit of sweetness on the tongue.good roasted notes throughout.

mouthfeel is medium bodied,moderate carbonation.pretty good as a fall/winter sipping beer.pretty flexible in terms of food pairings.could stand up to bleu cheese,but would also fit well with creme brulee.

Photo of jgasparine
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from the tap with a thin cream-colored foamy head, which quickly dissipated. The body was a reddish-dark-amber color, with no carbonation observed from the side of the glass.

S- Big nutty aromas alongside carmamel malt and some faint hops. Simple and beautiful.

T- Chewy, nutty roasty malts meet some restrained smokiness and some low-alpha hop bitterness. The finish is long and nutty.

M- Big chewy mouthfeel with a fair amount of unattenuated sugar... and some nice soft carbonation.

D- Super drinkable! The this nicely balanced brew is a too high in alcohol to call a session beer, but I could enjoy several of these in one sitting.

Photo of kegger22
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured brown with red highlights and a one finger head that finished as a thin covering. The aroma was sweet maple syrup . The taste was also like a thinned down maple syrup . The feel was medium bodied with light carbonation. Drinkability was good. Not as thick bodied as HotD Adam, more like a Scottish ale such as Dirty Bastard. Not as good as either of those beers, but a good one.

Photo of hosehead83
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass
Dark copper/amber in color with a big two-inch head of foam
Aroma-Caramel malts and chocolate liquore
Taste-Big malt sweetness up front, caramel, definite hop profile lending a balance- A clean, warming finish. Easy to drink for the strength. A nice winter warmer.

Photo of gford217
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 2008 vintage, poured into a snifter.

Pours a really nice deep copper with a huge billowy beige head that shows excellent retention and lacing. Really good looking beer here.

The aroma is very sweet with lots of caramel malts and toffee. Some brown sugar and dark fruits mix in as well as a hint of chocolate.

The taste is excellent with the typical old ale tastes coming out, namely caramel malts, toffee and dark fruit. But there is also plenty of chocolate and brown sugar, and maybe some hops though I think they've probably faded over the last year.

The mouthfeel is pretty full bodied for the style with good soft carbonation. Sticky sweet overall feel.

This is another solid beer from Great Divide and one that I've taken too long to try. Excellent.

Photo of PDXHops
3.47/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. The label says it was bottled October 20, 2008.

Pours a handsome deep see-thru amber. Inconsistent/patchy head with OK retention and lacing.

At "only" 8.1% ABV, this is still quite a robust and chewy brew. Lots going on here with roasted/toasted malts, some chocolate, earthiness, a bit of wood, dark fruit, a few drops of coffee. Nice stinging bitterness. There's already noticeable oxidation- of the cardboard, not vinous/sherry variety- after just a year, so not sure it will hold up to extended cellaring (gonna hold onto a few to see what happens).

Overall impression: Enjoyable offering from Great Divide.

Photo of spartanfan
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruby red with a nice tan head that is sticking around.

S: Smells sweet, maple syrupy, toffee notes, and a little bit of toastyness.

T: Tastes of chocolate, toffee, lingering flavor of coffee. Doesn't taste as sweet as it smells.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty full.Perhaps a bit too much carbonation

D: The alcohol doesn't show through much at 8.1%. This one's well balanced and pretty drinkable.

Photo of mulder1010
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a Red Oak glass

A-- Poured a dark reddish brown color. A solid 1 finger head once it settled and left a thick foamy lacing.

S-- Hops, malt, carmel, toffee, and some fall/ winter spices. Great fall/ winter smell.

T-- Well balanced between the hops and malt.

M-- Medium bodied and the flavor hangs around for a while. Get a little burn at the end but it is a good burn. Never get the sugar until the mouthfeel. Taste grows on me the more I let it sit. Always a good thing.

D-- A little big but always drinkable. Very well balanced and complex. One of my favorite winter beers and always look forward to seeing it come out. I guess that makes it very drinkable. How quickly can I finish this growler and then get another?

Photo of cthulu81
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First let me start by saying I am vuury, vurry glad that Virginia got this beer again. It has been 3 long years since I had Hibernation last and it has been one of the G.D. beers I have missed most. What 'cha got cold Fall nights? With this beer in hand I can withstand even your worst wintry blasts. On to the beer. As gorgeous in the glass as it is on the nose. Deep autumnal amber hue with a tight, slightly off-white head. The nose is rich, with an inital wave of dry cocoa followed closely by earthy, piney hops. Belgian dark chocolate mixed with fir trees? Yeah, I am ready for this bad boy. The hops hit the tongue first but are imediately bodychecked off thier feet by the bold, smooth malt flavors. These are some bruisers for sure. Their swagger is confident and composed. And why shouldn't it be? They are packing heat like roast malt, perfectly baked brownies, molasses, and perhaps even a hint of Herseys syrup. But they never ov erstay thier welcome and become too rich or cloying. Drying, resinous hops pick up after the malt onslaught and keep things brisk, clean and ready for another rumble. Not to say this beer doesn't have a pleasing finish that lounges on your palate, but it is a 'sessionable' old ale by me account. Glorious. It shall soon earn itself a week or two on my kegerator, if that strikes anyone out there as a ringing vote of approval. Hope my roommates like it. Or hope they don't actually.

Photo of nickd717
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Great Divide.

A - Dark reddish-brown color with a foamy off-white head.

S - Aroma is roast, brown sugar, dark fruits, and faint hops.

T - Caramel and roasted malt, somewhat sweet, with brown sugar, nuts, dark fruits, and substantial hop bitterness.

M - Body is medium-full and palate is very smooth.

D - Good for the style.

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Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,594 ratings.